(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Children's Library | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload
See other formats

Full text of ""Crowns for the valiant""

I 






'Vie J£. 



*K * 



• "1 



-Cv 



-*-*r_ 



Jffe ft' 






&. 



S Mi 






, v Msf4/ 




Bn 



:'i 



% *sm& 






&*U« 4 






1 



"C 


rowns for 
Valiant 

By 


tke 


G< 


:orge A.. Birmingn 

(Canon Hannay) 

0/ 


am 



cbd $& 







Printed by 






TV 


Commission for Relief 


in Belgium 






71 Broadway, New 


York 



• «■ » 

e •• , 



* . • * 

i - - « 



a < 



''Crowns for the V aliant 

GEORGE A. BIRMINGHAM 

(Canon Hannay) 

IT was midday and I found myself in Wall Street. 
I say found myself deliberately, for I had wan- 
dered and been lost, as I always am lost when 
I venture into that part of the city. But I recognized 
Wall Street, and knew that I was found again. Right 
opposite me was Trinity Church, an unmistakable 
building occupying a site second in suggestiveness 
only to that of St. Paul's Cathedral. In the case of 
the London church the cross is held high over the 
turmoil of the busiest thoroughfares. Here Trinity 
stands right across the top of the street whose name 
suggests finance to all the world. God and Mammon ! 
The bells of Trinity were ringing out a tune which 
sounded clear above the noise of voices and the clat- 
tering of footsteps on the pavement. It was the an- 
cient tune of a very ancient Latin hymn, and it struck 
me while I listened to it as singularly Inappropriate. 
I remembered the English translation : 

"Oh, what the joy and the gladness must be 

Of those endless Sabbaths the blessed ones see. 

Crowns for the valiant, for weary ones rest." 

And so forth. What has the tune, redolent of gothic 
cloisters ; what have the words, echoes of monastic 
aspirations; what have they to do with Wall Street? 
They belong to the days which were before men 
learned to organize the world and all that is in it, 

3 



__ 



before the fascinating sport of money-making had 
been invented. 

I was perplexed and troubled as I entered a huge 
building which dwarfed the church beside it, symbol 
as it seemed of the way in which the temples of com- 
merce have outgrown in importance temples of God. 
I swung upwards in an elevator far higher than ever 
incense clouds rose anywhere. I reached at last a 
twentieth floor. 

Here, in a small office, I met two men, who spoke 
to me. Very patiently, for I am stupid beyond words 
in such matters. They explained to me the details of 
a vastly complicated business. They set before me a 
map of the Atlantic Ocean, with the American sea- 
board on the west of it and the European on the east. 
Right across the map stood two rows of pins with 
colored heads, red or blue. In the European ports, 
in Falmouth, and especially in Rotterdam, were little 
groups of white-headed pins. In the American ports 
were more pins, black-headed. Each pin was a ship. 
Loading here, a black pin stood for her. Sailing 
east, a blue pin, moved every day, marked her prog- 
ress. Sailing west in ballast, she became a red pin. 
In port, unloading, she was white. I did not count 
the ships, but there was a very large number of 
them. On the walls of the room were huge black- 
boards, and oa them, written in chalk, the names of 
ships, their tonnage, the port and date of their de- 
parture, the nature of their cargo. The names were 
various, the dates and ports changed. The cargo 
was always the same — Food. 

4 



In England to-day, in France and Germany too, I 
suppose, many men keep maps and mark them with 
lines and groves of colored pins. We look at these 
maps and are reminded, as they move from place to 
place, that here or there victories have been won, and 
the War Gods have claimed fresh victims. This map 
in a New York office showed the progress of the 
spirit of another god. The ships marched to save, 
not to conquer. If the long procession of these ships 
ceases, if the ocean on this map is left bare of pins, 
seven million people, victims, not makers, of war, 
will starve. The imagination boggles at the attempt 
to realize so desperate a thing. Yet it is literally 
true. Between this vast number of Belgian people 
and starvation there is nothing but this continuous 
procession of ships. There is no other food except 
what these ships bring, and though a man had the 
gold that Midas made he could not buy what would 
keep life in him. 

I was shown another map, and then another. These 
were of North America. On the one were more pins, 
stuck in, haphazard as it seemed, in various places. 
Each represented a collecting station where the food 
which the ships carried was gathered. On the other 
map were painted squares and oblongs, red, blue, 
mauve, and on these were figures, meaningless to me, 
but which told the instructed reader what the freight 
rates are from every region to the seacoast. The 
complexity of the business left me gasping. Men 
are starving somewhere in the world. Buy food and 
send it to them. The thing seems simple enough. 

5 



But when there are seven million people starving 
and a whole continent must be ransacked to find 
them food, then all the intricacies of railroad systems 
must be mastered, all the possibilities of varying 
rates weighed and considered. 

Buy food and send it to the' starving. It sounds a 
simple thing to do, but when there are seven million 
people starving it is necessary to buy huge quantities 
of food. The buyer who steps in to buy thousands 
of tons of wheat cannot buy as a woman might buy 
six loaves of bread. His action affects the market 
price, raises it so that not only he, but every man and 
woman in the civilized world will be affected by the 
rise. It is not an easy thing, to buy for seven mil- 
lions of people. The business, if it is not to lead to 
disaster, must be gone about very skilfully, very 
cautiously, by men who possess a hard-won knowl- 
edge of the temper of one of the most capricious 
markets in the world: 

There is the political situation to be taken into 
account, and the governments of warring countries 
to be placated. The seas are strewn with mines, sub- 
marines prowl through th<* depths of them. War- 
ships rush across them. In the air are flying vessels 
of destruction. Each warring nation, being desper- 
ately in earnest, is jealous and suspicious. Some of 
them cannot, some will not, feed these starving Bel- 
gians. The duty is laid upon America, because 
America alone both can and will. The Commission 
for Relief in Belgium must enter the field of diplo- 
macy and persuade the great powers fo let its ships 



lass freely, to recognize its flag at least as a secure 
protection. 

The immense difficulty of this business of feeding 
lie starving Belgians began to grow plain to me. I 
realized that the men who proposed this Commission 
of Relief are something more than slipshod adminis- 
trators of petty charities. They are engaged in a 
work which demands for its proper execution the 
qualities by which great affairs are carried on and 
great fortunes made — the organizing capacity of the 
banker, the patient wisdom of the statesman, the 
keen foresight of the merchant. I saw that the 
equipment of the service of Mammon might be — 
there before my eyes actually had been — taken over 
and used in another service for wholly unselfish ends. 
The building in which I sat overtopped the church 
beside it. But the spirit of religion had taken pos- 
session, and was using for altruistic ends the very 
faculties which the world regarded as dedicated to 
its meaner service. 

But I was by no means at the end of this won- 
derful story of business efficiency turned to the serv- 
ice of suffering humanity. I had heard of the buying, 
the collecting, the carriage of the food, of the politi- 
cal difficulties which were overcome. I had still to 
hear about the distribution. Here, at last, I came 
upon a subject of which I knew something before- 
hand. It has been my lot to take part more than 
once in organized attempts to feed people in times 
of dearth. I know the sort of difficulties by which 
such efforts are beset. There are all sorts of evil 



chances which befall well-intentioned administrators 
of charitable funds. There may be overlapping and 
waste. There may be leakage through dishonesty 
and theft. There may be a degrading sense of de- 
pendence forced upon self-respecting men. I do not 
believe that any of these evils are occurring in Bel- 
gium. 

Certain members of the Commission, American 
citizens in Belgium, have devised an amazingly sim- 
ple and yet effective system by which those of the 
Belgians who are in a position to pay for their food 
are able to do so and endure no stigma of pauperism. 
In some provinces it is possible to buy a book of 
coupons, like a railroad mileage book, and these can' 
be exchanged at a baker's for a supply of bread 
sufficient for the household. Elsewhere a kind of 
bread bonds are sold. To the bakers sufficient flour 
is issued for the making of bread to meet the bonds 
or coupons issued. Drastic measures have been 
taken to punish bakers who adulterate or misuse 
their flour. The Belgians themselves are co-opera- 
ting with fine devotion. Banks — French, English and 
Belgian — are advancing money to individuals against 
securities which are not now, and perhaps never will 
be, realizable They are making loans to business 
houses which wish to continue paying at least part 
of the wages of their employees. This money is 
exchanged for food coupons or bonds, and rations 
are served out alike to those who pay and those who 
cannot. Soup kitchens are established for the abso- 
lutely destitute, and such vegetables as can be ob- 



Ined are given to them. The whole business of 
;tribution is organized down to the minutest detail 
d worked by local committees under the direct 
Introl of members of the Commission. The Com- 
littee in London watches over and negotiates the 
ifficulties which arise with the various governments. 
I Where does the money come from? The Belgians 
Li repeat this— are paying willingly so far as they 
have power to pay. The English Government gave at 
the outset $500,000. Certain newspapers have col- 
lected and handed over large sums. Every State in 
the Union has contributed through local committees. 
Canada has given generously. Italy and Spain have 
given. But the giving must go on. The war con- 
tinues. While it continues, and for at least six 
months afterwards, this elementary duty of feeding 
the starving must be done. I suppose that we may 
call the generosity which has. been shown so far won- 
derful. I feel confident that the generosity of the 
time ahead of us will be wonderful too. But I think 
that the most wonderful thing of all is the ability 
placed at the service of charity by the members of the- 
Commission. It is this, at all events, which has im- 
pressed me beyond my power of telling. Giving, 
thank God, is as common as light or love. America 
has shown often enough that her people know how 
to give, money, or what money will buy. Have we 
any other example of such a prodigal sacrifice of 
time and energy, such a consecration of brains? 

When I left the office the bells of Trinity Church 
had ceased ringing, but the tune they played at noon 



repeated itself within me — "Crowns for the Valiant." 
I suppose the church men of those old days meant 
more than mere physical courage when they spoke 
of valiantness. They meant capacity for doing things 
used steadfastly for some* noble end. So may we, 
interpreting their word in our modern way, sound 
out their tune over the Babel of Wall Street; since 
modern commerce and finance also produce these 
men of effective strength of brain and will who use 
their powers for the good of the weak and helpless. 



10 



The Commission for 

Relief in Belgium 

71 Broadway, New York 

American Commission for Relief in Belgium 
Spanish Commission for Relief in Belgium 
Italian Commission for Relief in Belgium 
Comite National de Secours et D'Alimentation 

Honorary Chairmen 

His Excellency Walter Hines Page 

The American Ambassador in London 

His Excellency James Gerard 

The American Ambassador in Berlin 

His Excellency William G. Sharp 

The American Ambassador in Paris 

His Excellency 

Senor Don Alfonso Merry Del Val Y Zulueta 

The Spanish Ambassador in London 

His Excellency Le Marquis De Villalobar 

The Spanish Minister in Brussels 

His Excellency Brand Whitlock 

The A merican Minister in Brussels 

His Excellency Henry Van Dyke 
The A merican Minister in The Hague 

Executive Officer— London 

Herbert C. Hoover, Chairman 

Executive Officers— New York 

Lindon W. Bates, V ice-Chairman 

Alexander Hemphill, Treasurer 

The Women's Section 

No. 1 Madison Avenue, New York 
Mrs. Lindon Bates, Chairman 
Miss Anne Morgan, Treasurer 

Auditors and Accountants 

Deloitte, Plender, Griffiths & Co. 

New York and London 

Bankers 

National City Bank 

55 Wall Street, New York 

Guaranty Trust Co. 
140 Broadway, New York 



11 



Am Appeal to Americans 

By 

The Commission for 

Relief in Belgium 

Official Clearing House for All 
Belgium Relief 

We, as Americans, are enlisted for the war to save 
seven million men, women and children. It is the 
greatest commissary undertaking in the history of 
the world, and in the lexicon of America there is 
no such word as fail. 

We Need Food Supplies 
as Well as Cash 

Is there a committee for Belgium relief in your 

community ? 
If there is none, start one under our official sanction. 

Are You Helping? 
If Not, Send in Your Name Now ! 

Make out your check or money order, or send 
cash either to the state committee sanctioned by 
this Commission or to the New York Head- 
quarters : 

The Commission for 
Relief in Belgium 

71 Broadway, New York City, N. Y 

Checks to the Women's Section should be made 

out to 

Miss Anne Morgan, Treasurer 

No. 1 Madison Ave., NewYork 






Boston Public Library 
Central Library, Copley Square 

Division of 
Reference and Research Services 



The Date Due Card in the pocket indi- 
cates the date on or before which this 
book should be returned to the Library. 

Please do not remove cards from this 
pocket. 



BOSTON PUBLIC LIBRARY 



3 9999 06658 796 3 



f 



V-^%4 
**+* 






w 



* " ittk > 






„#?wr ISk i£j£tf 



<i 



' i g 



<- ».> 









* •*. 



>„- 






Hi 






-*>. ■ r, jA rv\